Go with the Flow
Go with the Flow

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Annotation: Sick of an administration that puts football before female health, four friends band together to make a change, all while grappling with everything from crushes to JV track. Then one of the girls goes rogue and tests the limits of their friendship.
Catalog Number: #209284
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Graphic Novel Graphic Novel
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 327 p.
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-250-14317-9 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-7409-0
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-250-14317-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-7409-3
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2019930666
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
A surprise period and an empty tampon dispenser in the school bathroom set off a battle over female health for four high-school sophomores. Brit, Abby, Christine, and Sasha might not agree on everything, but their frustration with the school administration's reluctance to acknowledge, much less address, the challenges of menstruation and gender-based inequities of school budget allocation has the friends riled up enough to make a major stand in order to get their cause noticed. But when one of the girls takes things too far, it threatens to tear their group apart. The charming characters and amusing dialogue bring high appeal and some levity to an otherwise rage-inducing premise. Williams' art is cleanly drawn with well-defined panels and simply rendered but distinct characters, and the high cute factor is tempered somewhat by the decidedly pointed pink and red palette. While heavy-handed at times, the story is firmly grounded in the realities faced by girls and women, and the timely messages of empowerment and political dialogue will resonate with socially minded youth.
Horn Book
After noticing bloodstains on new-girl Sasha's white pants, longtime friends Abby, Christine, and Brit swoop in and save the day. It's Sasha's first menstrual period, and the tampon and pad dispensers at Hazelton High are empty--as always. So Abby digs out her "emergency pad," and Brit offers her sweatshirt to conceal the stains. It's a bonding experience for all the young women. But for Abby, it's even more: it's a call to action. Why are the tampon and pad machines never filled, yet the football team has new uniforms? She reads up on menstruation, blogs about it, meets with the principal, and conducts a letter-writing campaign. A final "go big or go home" strategy upsets her friends--especially Sasha, who is still trying to live down her "Bloody Mary" episode. Abby's activism builds slowly over the course of the girls' sophomore year, and it's deftly mixed in with typical teenage goings-on (homecoming, crushes, trigonometry, prom). Based on Williams and Schneemann's webcomic The Mean Magenta, this potent fusion of feminism and friendship aims to normalize conversation about menstruation, with an authentically diverse group of main characters who differ in race, sexual orientation, family structure, body type, and period pain. Williams gets the life-as-a-high-schooler details just right in expressive panels shaded in--what else?--red tones. An authors' note, facts about menstruation, and suggested resources are appended.
Publishers Weekly
In a graphic novel about periods that is charming if a bit risk averse, Williams and Schneemann suggest that the best antidote to high school humiliation is friendship. New girl Sasha Chen worries she-s marked for life when her first period stains her white pants for all to see. She is rescued by a diverse, tight-knit group of friends: independent Christine, activist Abby, and romantic Brit, who is plagued by her own painful periods. Abby is outraged by the school-s empty tampon machines and begins researching the history of period politics. When she launches a one-woman period-destigmatization campaign, her friends feel embarrassed and alienated-especially Sasha, who is already -period girl- in the eyes of Hazelton High. This is one of the more realistic and nuanced turns in a work that at times prioritizes education over storytelling. But by depicting menstruation in the context of adolescent social minefields, Williams and Schneemann rescue the topic from dull health manuals. Expressive black-and-white illustrations enlivened by a winkingly all-red palette make for a quick, enjoyable read. The creators nimbly incorporate issues of sexuality and social media, creating contemporary parentheticals in a heartening period story. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 10-14. Agent: Minju Chang, Bookstop Literary. (Jan.)

School Library Journal
Gr 4-8 When new student Sasha gets her period, best friends Abby, Brit, and Christine shepherd her to the bathroomonly to find that their school doesn't stock bathroom hygiene dispensers. The principal cites budget cuts, but the school can still afford new football uniforms. Incensed at the double standard, the teens decide that tampons and pads should be freely available at school. They work to convince others and to decrease the stigma around menstruation. Well-meaning but impassioned Abby gets carried away, making a bold statement that embarrasses the other girls, lands them all in trouble, and threatens their friendship. Originally a webcomic, this graphic novel is enlightening, though characterization and dialogue are at times forced. Information on historical attitudes toward menstruation is woven into the narrative through the girls' conversations and Abby's opinionated blog posts. Readers eager to learn more will be richly rewarded by the back matter, which offers further resources, tips on getting involved with period activism, and a brief primer on period normalcy and pain. The characters are diverse in terms of ethnicity and sexuality, and though all four main characters appear to be cisgender, with one girl exhibiting romantic interest in her female friend, there are numerous references to transgender men and nonbinary experiences. While the characters are high school students, rounded, simple lines create a younger appearance. Fittingly, various shades of red, often speckled in a crayon-like fashion, provide the only color throughout the story. VERDICT This warm, candid friendship story isn't shy about the message it's trying to sendthat periods need not be a dirty secret. Pair it with nonfiction memoir companions by Shannon Hale and Raina Telgemeier. Alea Perez, Elmhurst Public Library, IL
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Horn Book (4/1/20)
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (1/1/20)
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Word Count: 8,742
Reading Level: 3.2
Interest Level: 5-9
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.2 / points: 1.0 / quiz: 506909 / grade: Middle Grades
Guided Reading Level: O

High school students embark on a crash course of friendship, female empowerment, and women's health issues in Lily Williams and Karen Schneemann's graphic novel Go With the Flow . Good friends help you go with the flow. Best friends help you start a revolution. Sophomores Abby, Brit, Christine, and Sasha are fed up. Hazelton High never has enough tampons. Or pads. Or adults who will listen. Sick of an administration that puts football before female health, the girls confront a world that shrugs--or worse, squirms--at the thought of a menstruation revolution. They band together to make a change. It's no easy task, especially while grappling with everything from crushes to trig to JV track but they have each other's backs. That is, until one of the girls goes rogue, testing the limits of their friendship and pushing the friends to question the power of their own voices. Now they must learn to work together to raise each other up. But how to you stand your ground while raising bloody hell?

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